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Wireless Visionaries for 2020

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - WiVi-2020 (Wireless Visionaries for 2020)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2019-09-30

The industrial telecommunications sector stands currently at the forefront of a new era, which is marked by the transition to the new generation of wireless communications, namely the rise of 5G. With the recent explosion of the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications and the Internet-of-Things applications, the internet traffic is growing exponentially. Future networks should support applications with extremely variant Quality of Service (QoS) requirements, from low throughput and generally medium delay (M2M) to very high throughput and low delay (high definition real-time video). These challenges have not been yet addressed in network deployments within buildings, resulting in very low quality mobile access perceived by indoor users.

Efforts to improve the wireless network architecture focusing on flexible spectral co-existence and densification of existing wireless infrastructures with heterogeneous Radio Access Technologies (RATs), as well as fusing cellular mobile with Wi-Fi have a core role in improving network efficiency. At the same time, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) comes to offer a centrally controlled programmable network model that lies over the physical infrastructure and allows for fast adaptation, without the limitations that hold back traditional networks. SDN is focusing on dynamic run-time resource management, routing, switching and forwarding of packets. On the other hand, putting the user apps into focus, Application Defined Networking (ADN) is concerned with the routing and switching of applications and the forwarding of sessions. Its model is a mirror of SDN, at the application layers (4-7 of the OSI model).

Putting these pieces together the WiVi-2020 project brings together an academic/industrial consortium with complementary skills and views to address three objectives, as defined by joint discussions, considering mainly the needs, interests and activities of the involved industrial partners of WiVi-2020:
1. Take advantage of the coexistence of different radio technologies via flexibility on the usage of spectrum and traffic over multiple-radio devices.
2. Investigate architectures and planning for optimized indoor heterogeneous radio access of software-defined networks that support services with different QoS requirements.
3. Optimize resources scheduling and traffic flows for virtualized networks based on ADNs.
WiVi-2020 is an ambitious ITN-EID project that works in the area of indoor 5G mobile and wireless communications. It comprises three beneficiaries and two partner institutions that originate from two countries (Greece and Sweden). The project started in October 2015 and has just finished its first period. A brief summary of the work and the activities of the project is provided below:
- In the first months of the project, the work was devoted to the recruitment of the ESRs and their enrollment in the PhD programmes.
- After the recruitment finished, the ESRs focused on their research work and their academic obligations.
- The SiCs of the beneficiaries focused on the organisation of the training activities for the ESRs, assisting them on their research for defining their path towards achieving the objectives of their PhD theses.
- In the first year of the project, the ESRs were doing literature review, trying to set the foundations of their research and identifying open research gaps and opportunities, while also setting short-term and long-term research objectives.
- In the second year of the project, the ESRs continued their research and training activities towards their objectives, successfully submitting their early results in international conferences.
- In the second year of the project, secondments of the ESRs to the industrial partners also took place, so that the ESRs also undertake industrial training, in line with the objectives of the project.
- The project has organised many multi-disciplinary training activities with the organisation of a summer school, invited lectures and seminars, the participation of the ESRs in external summer schools and courses, local training at the beneficiaries, training through secondments and academic training.
- The project partners have also carried out a large number of dissemination activities, with participation in various conferences, organisation of workshops, delivering lectures and seminars and participation in industrial events for promoting the project results.
WiVi-2020 aims to have significant progress beyond the state of the art in the areas of 5G indoor communications. The research work is split in three areas:
(i) Spectrum coexistence and offloading: Here, the work focuses on techniques for the seamless coexistence of heterogeneous networking technologies, using concepts from software defined radios and fog computing. So far, the project has worked on resource allocation algorithms to maximize the spectral efficiency and the sum rate of all the user devices. Additionally, hybrid resource allocation schemes have been defined to minimize the interference with respect to the QoS of the supported applications.
(ii) Indoor heterogeneous access:
Here, the focus is on developing scalable multi-criteria infrastructure planning for indoor dense wireless networks. To achieve this, the project considered the underlay M2M communications via resource sharing optimization and considering energy restrictions. So far, a scalable model for allocation of fog resources has been developed for multi-tier fog infrastructures including end user devices. Furthermore, the benefits of using SDNs for the reliable integration of heterogeneous technologies have been investigated, with a focus on improving the mobility management techniques using local handover management for indoor femto-cell networks, showing improvements on the energy efficiency and handover latency compared to standard 3GPP techniques.
(iii) Virtualized networks based on Application Defined Networking:
Here, the target is to exploit ADN and network virtualization for optimizing service provisioning in heterogeneous networks. The project has worked on advancing the concepts of Age of Information and Value of Information proposing two novel metrics: the cost and the value of information update. Additionally, the project worked on optimization of resource allocation for heterogeneous networks, considering QoS service differentiation for core and access networks, proposing a novel optimal resource allocation algorithm for achieving predefined throughput and delay performance for selected groups/slices .

The scientific impact of the project is significant, since it aims to provide models and algorithms that will improve the performance of future heterogeneous deployments within buildings. The impact will be increased with many targeted scientific publications in high ranked conferences, journals and magazines. Additionally, the industrial impact is ensured with the activities of the industrial partners, both dedicated to support the exploitation of the results in various ways. By achieving improved performance in network deployments within buildings, end users will be experiencing faster and more reliable internet connection speeds and better services with improved quality.
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